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Hong Kong national security law: Is China aiming to save the golden goose?

17 2 6

On Tuesday, Beijing adopted a new national security law for Hong Kong. It comes in the wake of several years of continued social unrest beginning with the Umbrella Movement in 2014 and the anti-extradition movements in 2019.

The mass movements, while mostly peaceful, included violence and vandalism. They also severely impacted the business community, socio-economic stability and Hong Kong’s previously sterling reputation for a business climate that was second to none.

Under the guise of national security and preserving order in Hong Kong, the new law seeks to bring stability to the economy and business environment in Hong Kong by criminalizing acts that threaten social (and national) stability. These have been labelled subversion, secession and terrorism.

Making the law even more problematic, these crimes punishable under the new law overlap with China’s “three evils” of ethnic separatism, terrorism and religious extremism, which have led to the creation of re-education camps in Xinjiang, the incarceration of more than 1 million ethic Uighurs and the oppression of Tibetan minorities.

For Hong Kong citizens, this new law may affect their ability to protest peacefully to the local government or Beijing for fear of being labeled a seditionist, secessionist or worst a terrorist. It is also the end of the "One country, two systems" model that has protected their rights and privileges compared to mainland China.

Saliently, the law is unambiguous in that people are subject to it whether they are living in Hong Kong or not and whether they are a Hong Kong citizen or not. Moreover, the fact that the new law is retroactive means that past activities by Hong Kong and non-Hong Kong citizens can be prosecuted as well under it.

This means that the new national security law has immediate implications for Hong Kong citizens, Japan and other countries tethered to Hong Kong through businesses, and citizens with a Hong Kong connection.

Last year Hong Kong was Japan’s fifth-largest trading partner at $33.6 billion a year. At least 30,000 Japanese nationals and 1,400 Japanese companies are located there. Many of these businesses will now........

© The Japan Times

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